Source: Hindustan Times
Wire Service: IANS
On October 5, 2005 the Indo-Asian News Service reported, "With the onset of the nine-day Hindu festival period of Navratra, Kabul's ancient Hindu temples, steeped in fascinating folklore, are buzzing with a record number of devotees of all faiths. The focal attraction is Asamai temple at the foothills of Koh-i-Asamai, the central hill feature around which the Afghan capital sprawls. Hundreds of Afghanistan's Hindus and Sikhs as well as Indians employed in reconstruction projects pay their obeisance there every day. The hill is named Asamai after Asha, the goddess of hope said to be residing on the hilltop since time immemorial. Legend goes that the Akhand Jyoti or continuous fire there has been burning uninterrupted for over 4,000 years. Amazingly, both the temple and the jyoti have survived numerous bloody wars for supremacy over Kabul and are haunting reminders of a time when the entire population of Afghanistan followed Hinduism. Afghanistan was then called Ariana - a name derived from the Aryans who came and settled here from Central Asia before moving on to India."